Outpouring of grief for martyred NSG commando

Outpouring of grief for martyred NSG commando

Scores of people turned up in Bengaluru and at Elambulassery village in Kerala’s Palakkad district on Monday to pay their last respects to Lt Col E K Niranjan of the National Security Guard (NSG), who died fighting militants at the Air Force station in Pathankot, Punjab, on Sunday.

Niranjan’s body reached Bengaluru in the morning. Following certain rituals, it was taken to his home in Doddabommasandra and thence to the BEL grounds in Jalahalli where it was kept from 9 am to 1.20 pm for public viewing. Hundreds of residents, politicians, ex-servicemen and young students paid homage to the martyr. At 2.30 pm, the body and Niranjan’s family were flown by a special IAF helicopter from the Jalahalli Air Force station to his home district of Palakkad.

Karnataka Chief minister Siddaramiah, Union ministers D V Sadananda Gowda, H N Ananth Kumar, former Union minister M Veerappa Moily and MLA S Suresh Kumar were among those paid their last respects to Niranjan. The officer’s Alma Mater, BEL College, was closed down to mourn his death.

While Niranjan’s father E K Sivarajan and wife Dr Radhika were grief-stricken, his younger brother Shashank spoke proudly of him. Shashank, who works with IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), said the family could take pride that he died a martyr, but his loss wasn’t easy to accept.

Shashank said the last time he spoke to his brother was on December 31 when the latter called up to wish them on New Year. He said Niranjan was not just a brother, but a friend and close confidante. “He was a very bold person. He made all the arrangements for my wedding. That was the last family function he attended,” he said. Shashank further said his brother was so fashion-conscious that he could easily pass off as an actor.

On the occasion, Siddaramiah assured Niranjan’s family all the benefits that were provided to the kin of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, an NSG commando who had died in the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Pakistan, Siddaramiah said that it was not enough if he just went and met politicians there while nothing came out of the meeting.

Niranjan’s body reached Palakkad town around 4 pm. Just as the helicopter landed at the Victoria College grounds, it was received by a large crowd which included MLAs from the district.

Later, the body was taken by road to his family home, ‘Kalarikkal Tharavaadu’, in Elambulassery village, about 30 km from Palakkad. Niranjan’s paternal uncle Harikrishnan, who lives in the family home, said the body would be kept at the KAUP School in Elambulassery from 7 am to 10 am on Tuesday for people to pay their last respects.

“More relatives are expected to be here by (Monday) midnight. The last rites will be performed tentatively at 11 am on Tuesday,” he told Deccan Herald. The Kerala government will be represented by Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala.

Palakkad District Collector P Marykutty monitored the arrangements at Elambulassery. Harikrishnan said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar would visit Niranjan’s home late on Monday night. 

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